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Topics - Xepher

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Announcements / Brief Outage
« on: September 13, 2006, 10:30:57 pm »
Brief outage yesterday. Billing problems with the datacenter. They tried to bill an expired credit card, yadayadayada... anyway, it's fixed now, sorry for the troubles.

General Chat / Job!
« on: July 10, 2006, 10:36:29 pm »
I got one!

Even got what I asked for in pay. Problem is, it's in tech again. "Mainframe Support" for a computer company. Oh well, at least the pay is decent.

Announcements / Creative Commons
« on: July 04, 2006, 03:40:26 am »
I recently changed the "copyright" notice on All code, content, and images are now under a Creative Commons license. You can check out the footer on any of the main pages for the new notice.

This was what I'd always intended with the original copyright notice I had, but now I've got the proper legalese to back it up. For those of you not familar with Creative Commons, you should check it out. Basically, it lets you claim a piece of work as your own, while still giving people the ability to redistribute it, copy it, modify it, etc... so long as they follow your rules about it. CC has several licenses you can choose from, depending on what you want to allow people to do with your work. The license I chose basically says you can do whatever you want with my work so long as you give me credit for it, and in turn release whatever you make with it under the same license.

I encourage everyone who creates content to put it under a CC license. Share, and share alike. That's what makes the internet a better place.

Announcements / Admin Email Info
« on: June 19, 2006, 08:16:05 pm »
Okay, my admin account here (adminATxepherDOTnet) gets a LOT of spam. I mean, we're talking 50+ a day. My spam filters are pretty good, only letting through a few each week, but because they're so strict, it is possible that they might accidently catch a legit email. If you worry this may be the case with a message your sending, there are a couple of keyword triggers I've setup to let you bypass the spam filters, and optionally recieve an automated confirmation that your message went through. The keywords are used simply by including them anywhere in the subject line of your email.

The first word is "wombat" which will bypass the spam filters.
The wombat lives across the seas,
Among the far Antipodes.
He may exist on nuts and berries,
Or then again, on missionaries;
His distant habitat precludes
Conclusive knowledge of his moods.
But I would not engage the wombat
In any form of mortal combat.

-- "The Wombat" Ogden Nash
The second word is "tyger" which will bypass spam filters and send an automated response to you to confirm this.
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, and what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart,
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

--William Blake "Tyger

General Chat / Riot Folk!
« on: June 19, 2006, 02:12:55 am »
Finally found a good term for one of my favorite genres of music. "Riot Folk!" Check out which is a little more "activist" than I usually listen to, but a good example of the genre, with free/legal downloads!

Here's a couple of my favorites so far.

Other bands that I think have a similar sound would include The Mountain Goats, Bright Eyes, Neutral Milk Hotel, Modest Mouse, Idlewild, Iron & Wine, etc.

Technical Support / Mail Slow? Move old mail out of the inbox!
« on: June 06, 2006, 06:40:49 am »
If it's taking a long time when you try to check mail, check the size of your inbox. I'm notcing that many users have inboxes that are several hundred megabytes. Everytime you login to check mail, it has to parse ALL of that. Delete stuff you don't need, or move older stuff to a different folder and it'll make your inbox run a lot quicker.

Announcements / Xepher's Moving
« on: May 24, 2006, 03:39:15 am »
I'm moving back to College Station Texas. I'm leaving Thursday (5/25) morning and it may be several days before I get back online. That is all.

Announcements / Inactive Forum Accounts Deleted
« on: May 19, 2006, 12:41:24 am »
I went through and deleted nearly a hundred inactive accounts on the forums. Most of them had been registered and never activated... lots of spammers in there. I didn't delete any account that had a post count above 0, but still, if you happen to have just registered and not yet activated your account, it may have been deleted. If that's the case, just reregister and everything should work again.

Announcements / New Ideas...
« on: May 14, 2006, 04:43:23 am »
Now that my job's over, I've been thinking about what to do here with for the past week. I've been torn between two ideas that I've had. On the one hand, I mentioned the idea of dedicated comic hosting. On the other, I've been wanting to write this CMS (content management system) that I've had in mind for a while as well. The CMS would basically be an automated website system, that would be highly customizable. It would be extensible/modular, but the base system would all you to have a comic automation system, complete with archives, automatic updates, rants, etc. a news/blog system, complete with in-browser rich text editor (aka "buttons to make things bold or change colors or add links") an art/image gallery system, everything complete with the ability for users to post comments, a threaded forum system, and other stuff... all of it integrated together, and full searchable. It would use the Smarty template engine ( so that users could completely customize the layout and look of everything.

Now I'm thinking how to integrate this with itself. The goal here has always been Free Hosting for Free Thinkers... or as I tried to explain that from time to time... Recurring, original, creative content. Thing is, I've always been trying to build this place into a community. Phase 2 I tried to drag more people together with the newsbox and featured sites and such. It hasn't worked out so well. For the most part, everyone's doing their own thing here... there's no centralization, no real community, save the few of us that actually hang around the forums here. So I looked around at what actually make popular community driven sites. Sadly, what I came across was DeviantArt, KeenSpace (Comic Genesis now), Yerf and that sort. Look at Yerf for an example. It's VERY simple. You can upload an image, give it a description, and people can see it. The centralization stuff is nice though, like the "Recent Uploads" page, which shows the most recent art from everyone. See something you like? Click that artist to go to their own gallery. DA's got stuff like "favorites" where an artist can actually point to someone else's work on her on page. Likewise, you can "watch" certain artists that you like to know when they update. The comment system is rather useful to, IMHO. It lets artists get feedback on their stuff, without having to jump through the hoops of a seperate forum. Keenspace/CG... If you've got a comic, it's simple, it's easy, it does archives, and you don't have to worry about keeping so much stuff organized.

Now, comics/art/writing... that covers about 95% of the content on I think. So why can't I integrate all those things into one system? Thing is, I think I can. Basically picture the Artica stuff I described, especially the modernation/karma/whuffie system, but combined with modules for comics, writing, news, etc. Add on the ability for each user to truely customize the layout of their own site, but still have things integrated, so that if they upload art to their own gallery, it'll show up site-wide in "new art" or in "watched artists" and all that other stuff. Same for stories/fiction, or new comics.

Bottom line is that I think I could write a really good CMS that would allow for both full customization/uniquness, while at the same time, keeping everything integrated. While over the past few years, I've intentionally shied away from such things, prefering to keep up the "traditional" hosting model, with no provisions at all for content management or anything, I come to realize that it's just not working that well. What's taking off are things that make life easier online. Most people would rather have a gallery they could update in a few seconds via their browser than having the full freedom to code and layout every single detail themselves. At least, that's how it seems to me.

So the question becomes, how would this work (or not work) for you guys... the users here? Would it ruin things or make them better?

P.S. I realize I may not be extremely clear here on how things would work. Feel free to ask questions or tell me where I confused you.

Announcements / PHP/MySQL Temporarily Offline
« on: May 13, 2006, 12:30:14 am »
There's a possible exploit in MySQL. I had to take down the mysql service and rebuild it today. After it was rebuilt though, PHP stopped working since  it was using the old version of the MySQL libraries for it's mysql access. I rebuilt PHP against the new version, and everything should work again. Total downtime was about 2 hours, and only PHP and MySQL were affected (email and such continued to run.) Of course, there's always the chance of new bugs with new software, so let me know if you find any.

EDIT: Retract that... mysql is still borked. Working on it.

General Chat / Spore = Best Game Ever?
« on: May 06, 2006, 11:11:01 pm »

If it looks boring at first, keep watching for at least a few minutes, it gets so incredbly much cooler. I can't believe any game could be this large. Start as a single-cell lifeform, evolve creatures, control cities, make buildings, create vehicles, go to space, and end up terraforming planets. I'm just blown away.

Reminds me of one of my favorite games from way back when... E.V.O. I always wanted a modern version of that. Wishes do come true! :-)

General Chat / Cool Science
« on: May 05, 2006, 05:29:58 pm »
I figure I see all sorts of cool sciencey stuff online each day, and there should be a thread to share it.

First, start with some really internesting magnetic fluid demos. This is what I think nano-tech will look like. (Except the "fluid" will be doing it on it's own.)

Some fun stuff from Titan.

Finally, a picture to replace the famous "Blue Marble" from Apollo 17. Check out the rest of the image galleries there at visible earth as well. The city lights at night is fun too.

General Chat / XGL: +50 to Shiny!
« on: April 30, 2006, 04:01:19 am »
XGL is an OpenGL (3d accelerated) desktop server for linux. Simply put, it lets you have a lot of really shiny visual effects in your desktop using the power of your graphics card. Check out the demo video.

A lot of the things in the video I've seen in Mac OSX before... My roomate just got a brand new 19" iMac, and I liked a lot of what I saw. I'm compiling XGL now though, and hopefully this should cure my Mac envy. :-)

General Chat / TGIF!
« on: April 28, 2006, 11:47:32 pm »
Thank GOD it's Friday!

That is all.

General Chat / Seed Magazine
« on: April 14, 2006, 02:54:13 am »
I'd never heard of "Seed" before, but found a link to an article there today. Great stuff. Like popular science, but with less "popular" and more "science." Been reading for the past few hours, and came across this excellant article. See, Richard Feynman has always been one of my personal heroes, but the stuff in this article really makes it complete.

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